Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August Winner!

Thank you so much for everyone's interest in this months apron give away. It seems that my excitement was building up along with yours and I just couldn't wait to find out who the winner might be. As it turns out the lucky person this month is Pappy Boutique. I am so excited to not only give away this apron but also be introduced to her blog and her life.

So Pappy, let this apron inspire you. Look good on you. And help you in every cooking adventure. May each spoon fall on a clean floor, dish not break, and food land right-side up. All the best to you.

Nice to meet you, hope.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

T-Shirt Frenzy

I love the simplicity that happens when a t-shirt and jeans pair up together. There is something reliable about the moment, almost calming in the sense that it continues to be a trend. The truth is, I always come back to it and I envy my little boy when he has his tees on. So when I found these plain t-shirts for a dollar, it gave me an idea. Four t-shirts in four different ways.

Strips are always a go with me but something this predictable needed to be balanced with something that was not. A hand-stitched star helped this shirt have a sporty but trendy feel. I think Converse needs to watch out because I can draw stars too.

The hat here makes this shirt go a whole other level. But if you look close enough you will see that the shape of the guitar was mimicked off the fabric. A modern but yet classic look when the two were paired together.

Ties, seem to be hitting the stores nation wide. It is an inspirational idea that was easy to create, especially when I used the scraps from turning pants into shorts. Of course I always have jeans to lean on but the way I see it, matching should expand past the collections found in Gymboree.

Lastly, is the pocket. Probably the most functional of them all. But I learned that any thing functional can also be turned into something beautiful. Just by replacing the existing pocket with a pattern one gave this little tee some attitude.

There is always more then one way, hope.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Strawberry Cream Cake

Strawberry Cream Cake
Recipe courtesy of America's Test Kitchen


1 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. table salt
1 cup sugar
5 lg. eggs (2 whole, 3 separated)
Room Temperature
6 tbsp. unsalted butter,
Melted and cooled, slightly
2 tbsp. water
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Strawberry filling:

2 lbs medium or large strawberries
Washed, drained, and stemmed
4-6 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. Kirsch
Pinch table salt

Whipped Cream:

8 ounces cream cheese,
Room Temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. table salt
2 cups heavy cream

1. For the cake: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 F. Grease and flour round 9 by 2-inch cake pan or 9-inch spring form pan and line with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and all but 3 tbsp. of sugar in a mixing bowl. Whisk in 2 whole eggs and 3 egg yolks (reserving whites), butter, water, and vanilla; whisk until smooth.

2. In a clean bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat remaining 3 egg whites at medium low speed until frothy, 1 to 2 minutes. With machine running, gradually add remaining 3 tbsp sugar, increase speed to med-high and beat until soft peaks form, 1-1 1/2 minutes. Stir one third of the egg whites into batter to lighten; add remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. 30-40 minutes. Cool cake in pan 10 minutes, then invert cake onto creased wire rack;peel off and discard parchment. Invert cake again;cool completely, about 2 hours.

3. For the strawberry filling: Halve 24 of the best-looking berries and reserve. Quarter remaining berries; toss with 4-6 tbsp of sugar (depending on the sweetness of berries) in a medium bowl and let sit 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Strain juices from berries and reserve, you should have about 1/2 cup. In a work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, give macerated berries five 1 second pulses. You should have about 1 1/2 cups. In a small sauce pan over med-high heat, simmer reserved juices and Kirsch until syrupy and reduced to about 3 tbsp. 3-5 mins. Pour reduced syrup over macerated berries, add pinch of salt, and toss to combine. Set aside until cake is cooled.

4. For the whipped cream: When the cake has cooled, place cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Whisk at med-high speed until light and fluffy, 1-2 mins. Scraping bowl if necessary. Reduce speed to low and add heavy cream in slow, steady stream; when almost fully combined, increase speed to med-high and beat until mixture holds stiff peaks, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes more, scraping bowl as needed.

5. To assemble the cake: Using a large serrated knife, slice cake into three even layers. Place bottom layer on cardboard round or cake plate and arrange a ring of 20 strawberry halves, cut sides down and stem ends facing out, around perimeter of cake layer. Pour one half of pureed strawberry mixture in center and then spread to cover any exposed cake. Gently spread about one third of whipped cream over berry layer, leaving 1/2 inch border from the edge. Place middle cake layer on top and press down gently (whipped cream layer should become flush with cake edge). Repeat with 20 additional strawberry halves, remaining berry mixture and half of the whipped cream; gently press last cake layer top. Spread with remaining whipped cream over the top; decorate with remaining cut strawberries. Serve, or chill for up to 4 hours.

Berry, hopeful.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sunny Sunday

Saturday was a day that was filled with disappointments and I wondered how many things could go wrong in one day before we would "call it a day". It was about midnight, as we were driving back from a long trip that I accepted it and hoped for a brighter tomorrow.

The next day, we woke up late and then lingered in the comfort of our bed as we made plans for our day. We splurged on a delicious coffee drink to go with our cookie, waited patiently at the new coffee place and observed the clever upholstery made from potato sacks, before finally making it to the park.

The park was beautiful and we took complete advantage of it. We laid in the shade and dreamed about the future. Played ball with the kiddos under the big oak trees and then threw up the tiny helicopters in the wind. We ate lunch that "Genius" prepared and enjoyed conversations with our children. They went on to play in the play ground and we continued to be in the moment of perfection.

It was such a release from yesterdays disappointments. There was such a peace about the moment that we stayed, far longer then our usual picnic adventures and loved every minute of it. Taking a small walk with my daughter we stumbled upon a field of fallen pine cones so we motioned for the family to come join us. Of course, pine cones began to be thrown everywhere. One after another hitting each other, sometimes by the handful.

We were happy, satisfied and rested by the end of our weekend. Just what all of us needed before starting another week of chores, cleaning, appointments, and work. More of schedules, compromises, and decisions. Simply put, it was nice to have this moment.

Delighted, hope.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Day in my kitchen

Sunday breakfasts are my favorite. We had potato pancakes with a mushroom spinach filling that was topped by an over easy egg. Delicious, but it was doing it Omlette style that proved to be a hit.

Moms potato pancakes.
3 med. potatoes, peeled and shredded
1 egg, beaten in
Salt and pepper to taste

For lunch, my traditional recipe for "Breakfast boats" went lunch today! By substituting the egg with a recipe of "Marinated Tomatoes" it was an easy but perfect combination of flavor.

Two hearty meals was enough to satisfy our family for the day, but dessert was still unaccounted for so tea seemed appropriate. We get our tea from "Townsheds" check it out at http://www.townshendstea.com/.

Lastly, this is one of my favorite cakes. A simple Strawberry Cream Cake that is exceptional in my books. Stay tuned for a recipe that should be posted this week.

Sunday, hope.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

August Give Away!

Spills, splats, slips all happen in the kitchen. I am probably queen of that territory and have been told by more then once that I am the messiest cook. Its true. I am. But that is probably why I always rely on my apron to save me from the many disasters that I create. The thing is, messy never meant ugly and I love to slip on an apron that I can feel cute in.

Inspired by messes and mess-ups I want to give away this apron to my viewers. Send your comments about life inside your kitchen and I will write you in for my monthly giveaway.

Might as well have fun doing it, hope.